I’ve suffered from anxiety for most of my life. In the last few years the battle has enlarged to include depression and insomnia. Only recently have I discovered that all three are part of a repeating negative cycle:
Lack of sleep contributes greatly to my depression. > When I’m depressed I don't have the energy to do the things I need to do. > This in turn leads to anxiety, a sense that I’m falling behind. > And that anxiety keeps me awake at night.
That is my repeating cycle. And I’ve found the best way to interrupt it is by targeting what’s causing my anxiety.
For me it’s all about convincing myself that the small steps I take toward my goals each day really do matter.
Because I can’t see a huge immediate result from doing them, it’s easy to think, ‘So what, if I skip my writing today?’ ‘So what, if I don’t go for my walk?’ ‘So what if I have that extra piece of cake?’ What can it hurt, it’s just one day.
But over time those little daily decisions matter. In fact, over time they’re what matter the most!
Creative people tend to be driven and highly-motivated. But that can work against you if you can’t shut it off. If you never give yourself credit for small accomplishments, you live in a constant state of guilt.
By recognizing that those small steps matter, I have eased my anxiety. Now when I go to bed at night, instead of stressing over all that still needs to be done, I can relax in the knowledge that I’m moving forward. I’m on track. Everyday, with each small step I am getting closer to my goals.
That freedom from anxiety allows me to sleep better, which eases my depression, which gives me more energy to make even more small steps and the spiral starts on an upward trend.
What tricks have you found to ease depression/anxiety?